Football is a great team game that involves fans’ passion and extreme involvement. However, once every four years, an extreme rivalry is developed between people, and the fans are divided. Yes, you guessed it right; it’s the Football World Cup. FIFA World Cup is probably the biggest event in the football world, and lifting the cup is the pinnacle in every footballer’s career.
It is what every player dreams of when they begin their career. During this world cup, all football fans wish they could at least have one close encounter with their football idols and perhaps get an autograph. We can’t do much to help you get you a meeting with your football idol, but we can at least help you to get to know your idols a bit better.
Here are the ten most idolized football players in the Football World Cup of all time:
- Diego Maradona
- Gerd Muller
- Zinedine Zidane
- Miroslav Klose
- Xavi Hernandez
- Ferenc Puskas
- Lev Yashin
Edison “Edson” Arantes do Nascimento, better known to the world as Pele, was most probably the best footballer the planet has ever seen. Pele reigned the international stadium for almost fifteen long years – he dominated the 1958 World Cup tournament when he was just 17 years old and did the same in 1970 at the age of 29.
During his international football career, Pele played four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970) and won three out of them, becoming the only man. Also known as the Black Pearl, Pele played an integral part in all the World Cups he played. Of his 77 goals for the Brazilian National Team from 92 caps, 12 were during the World Cups.
His 77 goals are still the highest goal scored by a Brazilian player. The Brazilian King is truly the King of Football – his playfulness and creativity were intoxicating. His vision of the game and technical skills enabled him to rise above the rest of his teammates and made the world kneel to him.
Diego Maradona, the real Argentine, was the only real competitor of Pele for the best of all time. Maradona sealed his reputation as both one of the most talented players during his four World Cups and one of the most controversial figures in football history.
Diego Armando Maradona was part of the Argentinean squad in 1982, 1986, 1990, and 1994. But it was the 1986 World Cup campaign where Maradona shone. Maradona captained the team, played every minute of every match of the 1986 tournament, scored five goals, and made five successful assists.
In the quarter-finals match against England in 1986, Diego Maradona jumped to hit the ball with his head but hit it with his hand instead, and it went past the English goalkeeper Peter Shilton, and that is where the title Hand of God came from. In his 91 appearances for Argentina from 1977 to 1994, Maradona scored 34 goals, among which eight were in 21 World Cup games.
Germany is one of those countries whose football legacy will always be written with golden ink in the books. The country has produced a handful of football hall candidates, which gave the world unforgettable football moments. One of them is Gerd Muller, who played for the West Germany football team from 1966 to 1974.
Also known as “Der Bomber,” Gerd Muller played two World Cups, in which he scored 10 goals at the 1970 World Cup and another four during the victorious 1974 campaign. He received the Golden Boot as a top goal scorer in 1970, and four years later, he scored the final winning goal against the Netherlands.
Muller also held the record for all-time highest goal-scoring in the World Cup tournament for 32-long years, until Ronaldo eclipsed it in 2006. The ultimate poacher, Gerd Muller, had an uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time and made accurate passes every time.
The Brazilian star may have lost the title for the most World Cup Goals, but Ronaldo is still the player with a raw pace and an incredible capacity to finish from all the angles. Pacey, powerful and frightening to play against, Ronaldo was one of the most feared strikers in world football at both clubs and international levels.
In his career, Ronaldo made 97 appearances for the Samba boys and posted 62 goals. Ronaldo made his World Cup debut in 1994 held in the United States but did not play a single minute. During the 1998 World Cup, Ronaldo was considered the most ferocious player due to his supernatural skills and talent.
Ronaldo scored 15 goals in the World Cup, a record until German player Miroslav Klose broke it in 2014 with 16 goals. Ronaldo is also one of only three players to have ever scored three goals in three separate tournaments.
The hero of the 1998 World Cup final with a brace against Brazil, Zinedine Zidane, was one of his generation’s most idolized players. Zidane was an absolute genius when it came to football – he was creative, he could use both his feet, and possessed a vision and a footballing brain like no other player of his generation.
Zinedine Zidane played three World Cups for Les Bleus and helped the team lift the trophy in 1998, while the team reached the finals in 2006, only to lose to Italy. During his first World Cup win, Zidane scored two goals in the finals and was named the All-Star Team.
While his 2006 World Cup journey was famous but negatively, Zidane led the French team to the finals but was given a red card for head-butting Italian player Marco Materazzi. The current manager of one of the best clubs, Real Madrid, Zidane scored 159 goals, out of which 128 were club goals, and 31 goals were for the Les Bleus.
Eusebio played only one World Cup in 1966, but he did not fail to leave an impression on world football. In fact, Eusebio’s performance was legendary – he scored a magnificent nine goals in just six games, winning him the Golden Boot that year. Portugal finished at third place in England, and a huge credit goes to Eusebio, who was at the peak of his career during the tournament.
Sure England had hosted and won the 1966 World Cup, but if there is one thing English fans will recall other than their winning triumph, then it has to be the magic of Eusebio. The Mozambique-born striker was best known for his acceleration and powerful strike that made him difficult to play against.
Talking about English fans’ adoration, Eusebio has a waxwork of himself placed in the Madame Tussauds Wax Statue Museum. But the real question that arises here is, if we are constantly going to compare Lionel Messi with Maradona, then why not do the same with Cristiano Ronaldo and Eusebio.
Miroslav Klose is the man with the highest number of goals in the World Cup – 16 goals in 24 appearances, to be exact. Klose broke the previous record of Brazilian legend Ronaldo in 2014 with his 16th goal in the historic 7-1 win against the host Brazil. Furthermore, Miroslav is also the only player to score at least four goals in three different World Cups.
Most known for his powerful striking ability in the air, Klose scored 7 out of his 16 World Cup goals with his head. His jumping height combined with his original height of 6-feet 1-inch was absolutely unmatched.
Besides Klose’s high flying skills, the German legend was also possessed lightning-quick goal-scoring instincts inside the penalty area. Klose netted most of his World Cup goals from relatively close-range. Moreover, the German side has never lost a match when Miroslav Klose has scored, making him the big boss of German football.
Xavi Hernandez is the only player on the list to have not scored a single goal in the World Cup, yet he is considered a football legend and idolized by many fans. Xavi kept one of international football’s most successful teams ever ticking with his amazing gameplay.
Xavi played World Cup tournament during his career, and one of them in 2010, which South Africa hosted. The Spanish legend was at the peak of his career during the 2010 World Cup – Xavi finished with an 89 percent pass completion rate in South Africa. This was the most successful passes than any other players in the tournament.
Moreover, Xavi Hernandez also set up the winning goals in both quarter-final and semi-final. Spain and Xavi’s glorious era came to an end in 2014, when they failed to get out of the group stage. However, both of their legacies were set long before.
Ferenc Puskas is one of the greatest footballers never to win the World Cup. Puskas was a part of the Golden era of the Hungarian National Team that was unbeaten for five years and scored 27 goals in a single 5-game world cup. Puskas played just one World Cup tournament in which he scored four goals, but the finest Hungarian team could not lift the World Cup trophy.
Besides his World Cup legacy, Ferenc Puskas scored a total of 808 goals during his career. Puskas, also known as “The Galloping Major,” was also a key member of the 1960 European Cup Winners, Real Madrid. Despite being short, portly, and weaker with the right foot, Puskas had a cannon in his left foot.
Sadly, 1954 was the only World Cup for Puskas, in which he did not back down from giving his best and left the tournament with the silver medal. Ferenc Puskas was prolific and could do amazing things with the ball, making him a true legend of the game.
Lev Yashin is not the name you will often hear when discussing the best footballers. But surely, the Russian goalkeeper deserves mention. Lev Yashin was not just the best shot-stoppers of his time, but he also changed the definition of goalkeeping forever.
Before the 1958 World Cup, goalkeepers stood on the line and waited for the ball. But Yashin used to order around the defense lineups and chased down the defenders in the box. Yashin usually dressed entirely in black, which earned him the title of “The Black Panther.”
Also known as “The Black Spider,” Yashin was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Yashin was in the Russian squad in three World Cups and made his appearance in 13 games while only conceding 18 goals. He also made a fourth trip to the World Cup in 1970 as the assistant coach.
The Bottom Line
To sum up, these were the ten biggest titans of the greatest competition the football. World Cup 2022 Qatar is underway as Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, and the rest compete for immortality and lift the Jules Rimet trophy.